Go South! Ladbrokes Coral studies £2 billion bid for Tabcorp Australia

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Less than a month after officially completing its £2.4 billion merger (announced 1 November), the governance of Ladbrokes Coral Plc is reported to be studying a potential £2 billion takeover of Australian gambling operator Tabcorp Holdings.

Eager to expand its global footprint, Ladbrokes Coral are reported to have appointed advisers consulting the FTSE operator on its approach for the Australian ASX-100 gambling operator.

Any takeover bid put forward by Ladbrokes Coral will likely temporarily halt the planned AUS $11 billion (£6.6 billion) merger of Tabcorp with main Australian market rival Tatts Group (announced – 18 October).

Throughout 2015 and 2016, Ladbrokes governance (prior to its merger with Coral), have stated the importance of growing its presence within the Australian betting market, a sector heavily targeted by its UK competitors of Paddy Power, William Hill and bet365.

Facing increased competition from international operators, Tabcorp and Tatts governance reopened merger talks this October, with plans to create an outright Australian gambling market leader.

Both Tabcorp and Tatts governances are confident that a planned $11 billion merger will clear the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) review process, due to the changing dynamics within the market.

At present, Ladbrokes Coral governance has yet to publically state its interest in acquiring Tabcorp assets. Although the FTSE operator may be keen to expand outside of its core UK market, Ladbrokes Coral has to undertake its corporate integration, in which the new enterprise has outlined between £60-70 million in short-term cost savings.

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